Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Let's Go To The Movies

Last week the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts (CAPA) launched their Annual Summer Move Series in which they play a line up of beloved films at the Ohio Theatre over the course of the summer. They are showing true classics like To Kill a Mockingbird and Gone with the Wind, as well as more modern cult favorites such as Fight Club. I was pleased to see a strong list of musical movies among CAPA’s list, such as West Side Story, Funny Girl, The Sound of Music, and The Wizard of Oz. I love that these movies have continued to capture the attention of audiences in all age groups. Even the technology-driven kids of today know the words to “Do Re Mi,” and enjoy these movies despite their lack of CGI.

However, popular opinion dictates that none of these movies would survive today, but I beg to differ. Looking at pop culture over the past 50 years, musicals (and more specifically dance) have certainly evolved. Yet they continue to be loved. West Side Story stands out as a revolutionary movie in terms of bringing stylized dance into the mainstream in the 60’s. Then John Travolta single handedly made it cool to be a male dancer in the 70’s. There was an obvious spike of interest in dance in the 80’s with Footloose and Dirty Dancing. Even the 90’s had everyone moving with the “Macarena” and those catchy boy band dance moves. In the new millennium, the lines have blurred between musicals, movies, dance, and radio music. People are searching for a perfect hybrid of all these elements; a musical version of their favorite movie written by a top 40 artist and performed by the casts of American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance.

I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing. The performing arts are always evolving but they are always loved. Today, technology is dictating how we are exposed to art, but true talent still reigns. We can digitally alter Natalie Portman’s body into the most perfect arabesque, and auto-tune the kids of Glee, but it’s never quite as impressive as knowing that someone can actually do those things live without the assistance of technology. Look at how many videos there are on YouTube of one person sitting in front of their computer playing guitar or premiering their original choreography or executing 27 consecutive pirouettes. People want to see talent, and it is clear that that will never change.

What’s your stance on this matter? Has there been a dance movie in recent years that really moved you with its talent, or one that disappointed you with its lack there of?


Monday, June 20, 2011

In The Summertime...

The summer is finally here and I have officially begun my marketing internship at BalletMet. Much like the little campers I pass in the lobby, I am excited, anxious, eager, and most importantly thrilled to be surrounded by dance. To give a brief summary of who I am, my name is Colleen and I am a senior at Otterbein University with a major in International Studies, minors in both French and Dance, and a strong focus on Business (I know. It’s a mouthful). I began dancing when I was 4 years old in Philadelphia and have been in love with it since that first class. My mother and I had season tickets to the Pennsylvania Ballet for years, and dance has remained the one reassuring constant in my ever-changing life.

As I’ve grown up, I have realized that not everyone finds that one thing that they’re passionate about. It is clear to me, that whatever I do, it must be related to dance; and that is how I found myself here at BalletMet. Already, I can tell that the atmosphere of this company is so different from anywhere else that I ever have and ever will work. It’s obvious that the surroundings support creativity, not like the cluttered and fluorescently lit environment of a typical office job or even worse, retail. The people have been overwhelmingly friendly (something I am still not accustomed to after growing up in Philadelphia) and I could not feel more welcome.

I can tell that the next few months are going to be a great learning experience. Already on my first day I got to sit in on a strategy meeting which immediately immersed me in the inner workings of BalletMet. Although everything is still so new, I’m not nearly as overwhelmed as I thought I would be. In fact, I feel downright comfortable here.

Look forward to my future entries on my summer here, preparations for the 2011-2012 season, and maybe a few updates from the Nutcracker himself!!!


Monday, June 6, 2011

BalletMet and The Lancaster Festival Orchestra Present Pinocchio

We all know the story of Pinocchio, right?

Gepetto, a woodcarver in a small Italian village, carves a wooden puppet, wishes on a star for his wooden puppet, Pinocchio, to become a real boy. The Blue Fairy brings Pinocchio to life. She gives him a cricket to be his conscience and promises that, if Pinocchio proved himself brave, truthful and unselfish, he could become a real boy. Pinocchio runs into temptations that cause him to stray from his path of bravery, truthfulness and unselfishness. Each time he lies, his nose grows. Ultimately, the tale has a happy ending, with Pinocchio being transformed into a real boy.

It’s been a book, a graphic novel, a Disney movie and now it’s a ballet!

That’s right, a ballet. Thanks to funding from PNC, BalletMet artistic director, Gerard Charles, and company dancers have teamed up with the Lancaster Festival Orchestra to bring the timeless classic to life! This world premiere production includes a beautiful musical score by Hungarian composer David Kiraly, performed by the Lancaster Festival Orchestra conducted by Gary Sheldon.

Never been to the Lancaster Festival? Neither have I, but after researching the 10-day affair, I certainly have it penciled in my planner!

Since1985, the Lancaster Festival has been a multi-faceted, 10-day event that transforms the historic city of Lancaster with musical performances and family activities while getting local businesses, museums and residents involved.

At the beginning of May, the company dancers, along with a couple Dance Academy students, began rehearsals for the performance. Before premiering the production on July 24th, the dancers, Gerard, Gary and the orchestra traveled to Lancaster-area high schools to introduce the ballet and festival to the students.

The performance will also include local children in Lancaster, cast by Gerard. Because of the timing of the project, Gerard had to rehearse the company dancers and Dance Academy students before he even met the children in Lancaster. He plans to work with the younger children in July before the company dancers return for their final week of rehearsals.

Gerard explained, in an email, the he is building the work modularly. He says:

“This has been a good opportunity for us to re-connect to the Lancaster Festival, a place we have danced in history, but not recently. It also offers some more employment to some dancers and gives us the opportunity to develop a children's story ballet that may have a life beyond the festival.”

The world premiere performance will take place at Fairfield Union High School on July 24th with show times at 1:30 and 7:00. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children.